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Solar Spinners for Your Windowsill! 


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build, hack, tweak, share, discover. 

Solar Spinners for Your 


Written By: Marc Barbani 



1/16" drill bit (1) 

Dremel tool (1) 

Hot Glue gun & hot glue (1) 

Needle Nose Pliers (1) 

Soldering Iron and rosin core solder. (1) 

Wire cutter/stripper (1) 

bandsaw or hacksaw (1) 

Solar cell, amorphous. 1 V2" x 1 V2, the 
kind found in solar garden lights (1) 

Compact CD. 3" diameter (1) 

Small motor from an old CDROM or 
DVDROM drive (1) 

1-Farad/5.5v capacitor (1) 
Nylon spacer. 7/16" OP x 1/4" ID x 7/16" 

1 V2" x 1 1 /2" square cut of 1/2" thick nylon 
cutting board, acrylic, or block of wood- 
Use 2" dia. if circular cut (1) 

Wire. 26 AWG red. 4"long m 
Wire. 26 AWG black. 4"long (1) 


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Page 1 of 7 

Solar Spinners for Your Windowsill! 

This is an easy-to-build simple solar engine, also known as a Trimmet. We will construct a 
direct-drive type (as opposed to a voltage-triggered) spinner that will really go nowhere fast 
in direct sunlight. Perfect for windowsills and desktops that get a lot of old Sol's rays. Many 
different styles are possible, but this is a straight-up basic spinner that never ceases to 

Step 1 — Get the Motor 


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• Begin by obtaining a small motor, 
such as the one pictured here from 
an old CD ROM drive. They are 
usually soldered in place to a small 
board which is easily removable. 
Unsolder the motor from the board 
and discard the board. 

• Other CD ROMs may have the 
motor held in place with small 
screws at the base of the motor. 
Remove the screws and then the 

Step 2 — Parts Needed 

• Here are the parts needed for the 
spinner: compact CD, solar cell 
(removed from a garden pathway 
light), capacitor, spacer, motor, 
and base. 

• If you ever want to up-size, use a 
standard size CD and additional 
solar cells wired in series. But 
we're going to keep it simple here 
to get the basics down pat. 

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Page 2 of 7 

Solar Spinners for Your Windowsill! 

Step 3 — Center and Attach the Cell 

• It is important to keep in mind that 
all parts during the assembly 
should be centered and balanced 
around the vertical axis, or the 
spinner will wobble wildly once it 
gets going. 

• Carefully center the solar cell over 
the CD and trace around the cell 
with a thin-tip marker. Mark where 
the wires will pass through and drill 
two 1/16" holes. 

Step 4 

• Insert the cell wires through the holes. Apply a few globs of hot glue and gently press the 
solar cell down onto the CD, making sure it is centered in the box you traced. 

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Page 3 of 7 

Solar Spinners for Your Windowsill! 

Step 5 — Prep the Spacer 

• Drill a 1/16" hole all the way 
through the nylon spacer from the 
side, about half way from one end. 

Step 6 — Prep the Motor 

• Scuff up the base of the motor 
around the center and also on the 
end of the nylon spacer. This will 
give the glue good adhesion. 

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Page 4 of 7 

Solar Spinners for Your Windowsill! 

Step 7 — Wire up the Cap 

• Feed the red and black wires through the spacer from the side and up through the center. 
Strip the ends and observing polarity, solder the red wire to the + (plus) terminal and the 
black wire to the - (minus) terminal of the capacitor. 

• Pull the capacitor down to the spacer by pulling on the wires, then hot glue the spacer to 
the capacitor, taking care to make sure it is centered. 

• The 1 -farad capacitor will store the voltage generated by the solar cell while 
simultaneously powering the motor. 

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Page 5 of 7 

Solar Spinners for Your Windowsill! 

Step 8 — Mount the Motor 

• Trim the wires to about 1" in length 
and strip off 1/4" of insulation. Tin 
the leads. 

• Drill a 1/16" hole in the center of 
the cutting board base and push 
the motor spindle into the hole. If it 
won't fit, use a next-larger size 
drill. It must be a tight fit or the 
spinner won't spin! 

• Now hot glue the other end of the 
spacer to the motor, making sure it 
is perfectly centered. If it sets tilted 
or off center, carefully heat up the 
glue with a heat gun until it melts, 
and reposition the spacer. 

Step 9 — Final Assembly 

• Remove the base and place the 
motor assembly upside down on 
the CD. Trim and strip the solar 
cell wires. Twist and solder the red 
wire to red capacitor wire, and the 
black to black capacitor wire. Then 
solder the wire bundles to the 
motor terminals. 

• Now carefully center the motor 
assembly on the CD and hot-glue 
in place. It may help to trace 
around the capacitor and use this 
as a guide before gluing. 

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Solar Spinners for Your Windowsill! 

Step 10 — Spin! 

• Mount the motor spindle to the base. 

• Place in a sunny spot and spin away! 

• If you've taken good care, the spinner will spin smoothly on its axis with minimum 
wobbling. If not, it will hop all over the place once it gets going. ..but who says you can't put 
a 'spin' on spin? 

This document was last generated on 2012-10-30 11 :08:26 PM. 

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